Obama Invites Ryan, Van Hollen to White House Lunch

President Barack Obama invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Chris Van Hollen, the panel’s top Democrat, to lunch today as he seeks to restart talks on a long-term deal to reduce the federal deficit.

The 12:25 p.m. lunch in a private dining room of the executive mansion was listed on Obama’s official schedule released by the White House.

Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who was his party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, said in a statement he hoped the lunch with Obama and Van Hollen, a Maryland representative, “is the beginning of a serious discussion of the challenges we face.”

The lunch today follows Obama’s dinner last night at a Washington hotel with a dozen Republican senators. The president invited them in an effort to resume talks aimed at a long-term deficit reduction accord.

Ryan said yesterday that he will present on March 12 a fiscal blueprint outlining how Republicans would eliminate a deficit projected to reach $978 billion in 2023 without increased taxes.

Obama says that any deficit reduction deal must be a balanced package that includes higher taxes.

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